A recent article from The Economist highlighted some of the misconceptions about Bernie Sanders’ influence within the Democratic party and its voters-both in 2016 and today-and took a look at the likelihood of a Sanders nomination in 2020.
For a year and a half, Sanders’ supporters have argued that had he won the Democratic nomination instead of Hillary Clinton, he would have defeated Donald Trump. Of course there’s no way to know if that’s true, (the counterfactual rears its head again), but the other argument at the core of the Sanders’ brigade’s simmering resentment, is that Hillary was handed the nomination by the upper brass of the DNC. Of course few of them argue that she was hamstrung herself in 2008 when two crucial states’ primaries where she did and would win were not counted (Michigan and Florida). But it’s important to remember that Hillary Clinton received 55% of the total vote compared to Sanders’ 43%. She got nearly 4 million more votes than he did. These are actual Democrats voting, not some machinations behind a curtain by former party chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz. In a general election, 55-43 would be considered a rout.
But, the collective media’s reflexive need to disparage the Clintons at nearly every opportunity made it seem like Sanders was accomplishing more than he really was. Sanders deserves credit for his focus on universal health care (though Hillary herself was the face of that movement for years) and it has slowly, but surely, become a Democratic rallying cry. Let’s hope the party will keep the drumbeat on this topic alive. And give Sanders his due. But, the reality is that his Our Revolution group certainly isn’t lighting the electoral world afire and Democratic primary voters must think clearly before pulling the lever for someone who’ll be nearly 80, as he will be in 2020.
Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve gladly voted for Sanders over Trump, and if he’s the Democratic nominee, I’ll vote for him in 2020 as well. He’s much closer to me ideologically and probably temperamentally than Trump is. Surely he and I would agree on how to pay for universal health care… tax the wealthy at a rate at least equal to that of the working man and woman. But, let’s stop the rush to his coronation for 2020. At least for now.